Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

There’s the brilliant scene in Alice in Wonderland where she is falling, ever so gently, into Wonderland via a rabbit’s hole.

The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happen next. First, she tried to look down and make out what she was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything; then she looked at the sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with cupboards and book-shelves; here and there she saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs. She took down a jar from one of the shelves as she passed; it was labelled “ORANGE MARMALADE”, but to her great disappointment it was empty: she did not like to drop the jar for fear of killing somebody underneath, so managed to put it into one of the cupboards as she fell past it.

“Well!” thought Alice to herself, “after such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs! How brave they’ll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn’t say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!” (Which was very likely true.)

Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

This is, a little, what happened to me this morning. You see, I woke up a little early, but got distracted. And then my very dear husband made me coffee, and breakfast, and there was the most absurd headline, and I had my cookbook and notebook and was checking the plan of attack for the day which shall include more cooking and a feast with friends at the end of it. I was looking at clay pot cooking, and adapting a tagine recipe, and rescuing the robot vacuum from where my son had trapped it under a chair (I must talk to that boy about not tormenting Natasha, even if she isn’t an artificial intelligence, if you’ll mistreat the poor dumb things you’ll do it in other ways) and suddenly I realized that like Alice, I was drifting downwards and forgetting where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing.

Let’s see – the headline was ‘Man Crushed to Death by Telescopic Urinal in London.’

and then there was this, which made me giggle…

A Romanian saying from Cassandra’s Comics

I’m planning tagines tonight – two, to cater to varying tastes, because I’m not feeding my children and I can indulge people when I have the capacity and energy, and besides which, it’s a fun challenge. I have a clay pot (not a tagine-the-pot) and was wondering if that would work, as my daughter gifted it to me and I haven’t yet used it, so I looked up the manual. The answer is probably yes, but since I want to make pita breads in the oven while the tagines finish on the cooktop, I’ll likely play with the clay pot for another meal. I have a couple of roasting chickens in the freezer which seem to be the ideal in that style pot.

The robot is humming happily as it trundles through the house making at least a dent in the amount of dog fuzz hiding in corners and under things. Also, finding a missing wooden spoon that somehow wound up under a workbench in the kitchen. I’m sitting here typing away, contemplating depths of research. Just how far down can I go? Will I, like Alice worried, come out again on the other side? Perhaps, if I get all of the books I’d like to read, the house will collapse into an informational black hole and I’ll be sucked in and never emerge again. A wonderland of words and information.

nah. Falling and cooking at the same time sounds, like Alice feared of the marmalade jar, like a good way for someone to get hurt. Instead I’ll land with a bump, get up, dust myself off, and finish the meal, while digesting the research. The food is unlikely to make it into fiction, but I am starting to gather my wits about me for the cookbook, which is looking like it will split into two projects: Inktail’s Kitchen, where the little dragon conducts kitchen chemistry experiments and learns to cook, and an unnamed cookbook that will begin to delve into family, recipes, anthropology, and a fusion of research served up on the table.

13 thoughts on “Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

  1. I am currently writing a scene at a dining table on a cruise ship, with several different species sharing a meal, and I am trying not to get too involved describing the various dishes for each of them. I have decided that the norn, who doesn’t eat (or drink or breathe) is going to get a dish full of colored beads and a spoon so it can pretend to eat and not feel left out. (Norns like to try to fit in with local customs.)

    1. Our dog and cat avoid ours, but we’ve had one (this is the second iteration, after Boris the Dust-Bunny slayer met a horrible end) for about six years now. The cat joined us only two years ago.

      1. RIP Boris. I hope that his last battle was fought with honor, and that his name still brings terror to the dirt that collects under the couch.

  2. Back when I was in grad school, I did read and cook. Risotto. Because when you are standing there for at least half an hour, stirring, reading magazine articles or academic articles works pretty well. You can’t poison anyone, or burn anything, and the reading is too light or short to get lost in (or too academic to get sucked into.)

    I also learned to add any cheese AFTER serving the plates. Otherwise you spend all night getting cheese out of the cook pot.

    1. I was reading last night while making baklava. On my phone, so a tap turned the page. I did have to clean the butter off (I was buttering the filo sheets) my screen later!

      1. Someday when you and I have lots of time, I would like to learn from you how to make baklava, because the buttering of the filo sheets defeats me. I either end up dry, or soaked and soggy. You make *awesome* baklava, and while neither my waistline nor my husband’s weight loss would thank me, I really do want to learn!

        Besides, then I could use it to make recognizable spanakopita, and there are a number of serbian and bosnian dishes that require the skill, and…

      2. Been there, done that, but not with that recipe. Never attempted baklava, though, and I had toloo up Tagine. In fact, I first read it as “tagline” until I got to a point where that made no sense at all, and ’twas off to Wikipedia to figure out what you did say. From an ancient Greek root passed through Arabic: presumably an etymological cousin at some level of tahini, and the wiki page seems to spell it with a g or a j interchangeably.

        Fascinatingly exotic enough for Fantastic Foods And How To Fry Them, at least.


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